Instructor Spotlight: Danielle "The Flava maker" Gillyard
Danielle Gillyard is going to make you sweat. She’s fierce, she’s inspiring, she’s loud, and she wants you to be the same. She made her mark on DC with community classes filled to the brim — and they got steamy. Danielle’s high-energy instruction will get your butt in gear and leave you sore for days — just the way you like it.
Danielle took time out of her jam-packed schedule to share a little bit about the girl behind the curtain, including her path to ((305)), her favorite snacks and shoes, and how she taps into that Pandora’s Box of energy we’ve come to know and love.
Tell me a little bit about finding 305. What was the process like of becoming an instructor?
I auditioned in August of this year (2016). It was a long process, and I get why now. [305 Fitness CEO and founder] Sadie makes sure that everyone who walks through 305 doors has “it.” And I was nervous I didn’t.
Why not? You seem to have “it” to me.
The fitness industry is dominated by...mostly one body type. That body is mostly white, mostly skinny, and mostly female. One of the things I’ve learned about Sadie is that she is inclusive, and she takes that inclusivity to heart. She hires all body types, all races, and all genders. It’s one of the reasons people like to work for her — and one of the reasons people love coming to class.
Do you come from a dancing background?
There’s no way you were born with all that talent!
Kind of. I love dancing. I started teaching when I was a junior in college. I mostly taught Zumba, but I called it “trap Zumba.” Not everyone wanted that. The classes started to get a little geriatric. Some people didn’t want to work that hard in a class, some didn’t want to do high knees—
—And there are plenty of high knees in 305.
Yes. And I love that. The only thing I ask in class is that people work hard. If you’re trying, working hard, and need to stop, that’s fine! Just don’t complain. Get back in it. People do, they work really hard. It’s a breath of fresh air.
What’s it like to work for a #girlboss like Sadie?
It’s fun. It’s incredible. It’s inspiring. I remember teaching classes in college when I would have 110 people in front of me and think, “This is the best.” She’s made a whole career out of that feeling. That’s the dream.
She’s also outspoken, even when she doesn’t have to be. She’s committed to inclusivity and that’s not just a line. She speaks out on social media, she records videos. She’s about real talk, and I think the whole 305 community really admires that.
I know I definitely do. So, when you’re not at 305, where can we find you?
During the day, I’m a systems analyst for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. I’m basically the TurboTax of the Medicare process.
That’s why 305 is the best part of my day. I sit down for eight hours each day. When the clock is up, I’m ready to go. People often ask me where I get my energy. I think I just love looking forward to working my butt off, and seeing other people do the same.
Let’s talk a little bit about the class itself. How did you feel before you taught your first class?
I put on my headset and immediately burst into tears! No one saw me crying except [DC instructor] Byron, and he was like, “It’s FINE Danielle you got this.” And I did. That first class was big. It was the 6:30 p.m. Monday class, and there were so many people. But the junkies didn’t give up, so I didn’t either.
Woah, talk about first times! What do you tell to 305 newbies who might be a little nervous about the class?
The reality is no one cares what you’re doing but you. Everyone is looking at their own reflection in the mirror. Don’t judge yourself. Do what you want, and make the class your own.
Okay we’re almost done. Finish this sentence: If you wanna be my lover...
You gotta get an education and be respectful.